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Symbolism in The Devil's Highway by Luis A. Urrea

            "The Devil's Highway" by Luis Alberto Urrea, retraces the horrifying journey of twenty-six immigrants who attempted to leave their country in the hopes of creating better lives for themselves in America. A belief that the "Great American Dream" awaits those who plant their feet in the United States, is a powerful draw for foreigners who are struggling to make ends meet in their homeland. For some, the journey to America is done legally and is safe and meticulously executed. For others, crossing the border into the United States is a terrifying, dangerous and illegal ordeal. Every year, thousands of immigrants make leave their country and escape to America by way of the Devil's Highway - a massive, sun-scorched desert in southern Arizona. The name of this path has become symbolic of the men, women and children who seem willing to sell their souls to the devil in order to make a better lives for themselves and those they love. It's a harrowing journey, and one that only the desperate, or the foolish, dare to make.
             Urrea shares the story of twenty six men who traveled through a living "hell" as in anticipation of finding paradise on the other side. Reymundo Barreda Sr. was a good, strong and hardworking man. He had a son and a future. Reymundo Jr. was described as "sturdy student" and a "star of the local soccer leagues" (51). With no promising future in Mexico, Reymundo Sr. "signed himself and the boy on the (Coyote's) roster" Mario Castillo Fernandez had everything he needed, "his only curse poverty" (53). Making it the U.S. meant money to pay for his hard work, money to pay for beautiful things for his wife and new home. He also added his name to the roster (53). The Devil's Highway has earned its name not only by housing some of the most terrifying plants and wildlife, but also by rejecting humanity in the harshest ways. Ofelia Zepeda, a legend in "Tucson, the civilized part of Desolation" (13) claims, "You need a new kind of prayers to negotiate with this land" (6).

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